Why Meditate? Because the purpose of meditation is to cultivate a state of mind that creates and maintains a state of peace and well-being and to eliminate those which do not.
Why meditate when most of us do not slow down long enough to examine our own state of mind at a particular time. We get angry, for example, and act out in some way, being sarcastic, slamming things, yelling, or even hitting things, sometimes even a living being such as a pet or loved one. Anger can drive people to extremes one would never imagine of an ordinary person, such as road rage incidents and even murder.
Meditation helps calm the mind and allows a person control over it so it doesn’t run away with them. Meditators call an unfocused mind ‘monkey mind’ because it swings all over the place causing all sorts of mischief. The opposite of monkey mind is mindfulness, that is, mind-full, ‘full of mind,’ being alert and aware, and through this awareness, able to make intelligent decisions.
Tara Talks: Why Meditate? – Tara Brach
This short video helps provide a simple explanation as to why we should meditate;
how meditation can help us touch a great freedom in our lives.
Controlling the mind doesn’t sound like much fun, it’s true, but we are not talking about repressing emotions or zoning out like a zombie. Rather, meditation is a way of observing your own mind to understand it better. so, why meditate? It is actually very liberating once you realize you have choices and options.
If we imagine an ocean of thoughts, the emotions and ideas that appear in our mind are like ripples and waves. They rise and fall naturally. It is only if we choose to follow one, ride the wave, as it were, that that particular thought can have power over us, and through that power to trigger us to act out in unfortunate ways.
For example, if we think a loved one has deliberately forgotten to buy milk for coffee in the morning, our anger may cause us to say nasty things. It can also run away with us mentally to the point where we start inventing an entire ‘story’ in our heads about how they don’t care about us, how selfish they are, how they did it on purpose, and so on, turning a loved one into an enemy.
Why meditate for a better life? How much better would your life be if you could face any ‘challenge’ with a calm mind, and the understanding that people are only human, and humans forget. That forgetting is not a weapon being used to harm you, it is just a manifestation of a lack of focus and concentration.
That forgetting is a good example of how handy it is to make a list before going to the grocery store. All of these more reasoned contemplations can turn bad to good, and good to wise and considered perspectives.
If we examine our life honestly on the question of why meditate, we will discover that most of our time and energy is spent in a cycle of ordinary activities, work, TV watching, talking on the phone and so on. Almost all of our daily routine is taking up chasing after material and emotional security, enjoying sensory pleasures, such as eating, drinking and so on, or establishing a good reputation.
Although these things can make us happy for a short time, they are not able to provide the deep lasting contentment that we long for. Sooner or later our happiness turns into dissatisfaction, and we find ourselves engaged in the pursuit of more things we think will make us happy.
All of this chasing leads to stress and unhappiness. Meditation, on the other hand, teaches us that happiness is not outside of ourselves in ice cream, a gorgeous spouse, or a fancy car. Happiness is a state of mind.
Therefore, the real source of happiness lies in the mind, this is maybe the best reason we should ask, why meditate? We all want happiness in our lives and not just in the external circumstances of living in the world, or what we have, or don’t have.
Meditation, therefore, offers a range of mental and emotional health benefits. But there are also physical benefits as well. Let’s look at these in the next lesson.